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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 10/19/2010

Forecast: Fickle fall weather

By Matt Rogers

Mix of clouds and sun; mix of wet and dry

* Is new global warming poll cause for despair? | Hottest year-to-date | *
* Outside now? Radar, temps, clouds & more: Weather Wall *

Originally posted at 5:00 a.m., updated at 10:40 a.m.

Today's Daily Digit
A somewhat subjective rating of the
day's weather, on a scale of 0 to 10.


A 50/50 day. The morning is probably cloudy with showers and the afternoon sunnier and drier.
Get the 'Digit' on Twitter


Today: AM clouds, light showers. Some afternoon sun. 63-67 | Tonight: Mostly cloudy, chance of showers. 44-50. | Tomorrow: AM rain likely, then variably cloudy. 61-65. | A Look Ahead | Get Express Forecast by E-mail


As a forecaster and weather enthusiast, I'm not a fan of this pattern type. Fast-moving features along a flat jet stream bring brief bouts of rain, variable skies, and subtle temperature dips and bumps. Although no weather feature is too strong or sustained, this kind of pattern makes for tricky forecasting. The second half of the week does appear like it will be more clear cut than the first with an extended period of sunshine.

Radar & lightning: Latest regional radar shows movement of precipitation and lightning strikes over past two hours. Refresh page to update. Click here or on image to enlarge. Or see radar bigger on our Weather Wall.

Today (Tuesday): We'll look for morning clouds with a 30% chance of showers, mainly north of the city (light rain totals, if any). Some breaks in the afternoon sky cover allow high temperatures to reach the low-to-mid 60s. Light winds blow into the area from the north and northwest. Confidence: Low-Medium

Tonight: Skies become cloudy again with light rain chances re-emerging (40% chance), especially after midnight and to the south. Lows are in the 40s in the cooler suburbs to around 50 downtown. Light winds from the northeast. Confidence: Low-Medium

Keep reading for the forecast through the weekend...

Tomorrow (Wednesday): The morning brings variable cloudiness with light rain chances (60-70% chance). The best chance of steady rain is east and southeast of the District with coverage diminishing to the northwest. Afternoon conditions could feature a little sunshine. Highs are in 60s again. Confidence: Low-Medium

Tomorrow Night: Fewer clouds fill the night sky, allowing temperatures to drop lower with radiational cooling. Lows should be in the 40s in most spots, but maybe closer to 50 in the city. Confidence: Medium


Thursday, in my opinion, is the best day of this week. You may prefer Friday (see below), but that is your prerogative. I like Thursday better because even though there are a few clouds, temperatures make a run at the upper 60s or even near 70. A cold front approaches Thursday evening and that offers some evening clouds. Partly cloudy and turning colder Thursday night with lows dropping into the 40s again. Confidence: Medium

Friday features lots of sunshine, but cooler temperatures and lower humidity (lip balm weather). The dry air combined with some breezy conditions will probably feel cooler than the expected low-to-mid 60s. So, I like Thursday better. Mostly clear skies on Friday night means a chilly night with lows in the mid-to-upper 30s in the suburbs and low 40s in the city. Patchy frost is possible. Confidence: Low-Medium

The weekend should see some temperature moderation with at least sunny skies to start. Highs should range in the mid-to-upper 60s on Saturday making for a nice day. Partly cloudy and cool conditions Saturday night (lows 40s, but 30s in outlying areas). Sunday is looking a bit murkier as clouds and possible showers could encroach by especially afternoon. Highs should be warmer though with upper 60s to maybe even low 70s, especially in the city. Confidence: Low-Medium

By Matt Rogers  | October 19, 2010; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Forecasts  
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Next: Ready to rake?


One year ago, we had the excitement of October snow here in the Blue Ridge Mtns.

Posted by: spgass1 | October 19, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

The Science Expo is on The Mall on Saturday.

Any weather related booths or events?

Any chance we will see CWG there??

Posted by: jaybird926 | October 19, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse


We're going to do a post on the Science Expo on the Mall tomorrow or Thursday. There is going to be a whole area devoted to weather/climate.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | October 19, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone else on the northside wake up to that thunder last night? Yowzaa!

Posted by: Brian-CapitalWeatherGang | October 19, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse


Yes. One good roll of thunder up here in Montgomery Village.

Posted by: rlguenther | October 19, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Going to SNP for a fall adventure this weekend - how bad do you think Sunday will be for hiking, picnicking and sightseeing in northern Shenandoah park? Fingers crossed for no rain!

Posted by: CuseFan07 | October 19, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse


The latest data indicate Sunday will probably be pretty mild with just a slight chance of brief showers (timing uncertain) as a warm front works through.

Posted by: Jason-CapitalWeatherGang | October 19, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Jason! Can't wait to get out and enjoy the weather this weekend. Just gotta get through the work week first...

Posted by: CuseFan07 | October 19, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Interesting weather: not too wet nor too dry...but I'm surprised that a few TV mets are still saying that rain is "much needed" after that four-inch deluge we had a couple of weeks ago.

Weather Underground blog has a post challenging the 136-degree record set in Al Azizia, Libya [then Italian Tripolitania] in Sept. 1922...seems as though the recording thermometer may not have been properly placed and too close to an asphalt tarmac or parking area. The next highest temperature record, the 134 degrees recorded ca. 1913 in Death Valley is also questioned by some.

That said, the Sahara Desert constitutes a wide expanse of countryside with few or no recording is possible that midday temperatures near the summer solstice soar above 120 degrees on a regular basis, though no one knows for sure...same holds true from Egypt and the Fertile Crescent as far east as Iran and Pakistan. Frankly I'm surprised that no temperatures around 130 to 132 degrees are routinely recorded. I believe the highest this past summer season is the 129.2 or so recorded during late May or early June at Mohenjo Daro Pakistan, site of one of the ruined cities associated with the Harappan or Indus Valley civilization.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | October 19, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

In addition, many of the weather stations in the Sahara are at or near oases, where temperatures could be moderated a few degrees by shade and some moisture.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | October 19, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Will there be a Trick or Treaters Crystal Ball published this year? Something bewitching??

Posted by: JerryFloyd1 | October 19, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Any thoughts on afternoon weather in Leesburg on Sunday? My colleague has a photo shoot outside and is worried about that "murkier" weather!

Posted by: cassann981 | October 19, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

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